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GENERALPLAN OST (GENERAL PLAN EAST)
THE NAZI REVOLUTION IN GERMAN FOREIGN POLICY
The documentary record pertaining to the ideological foundations of Nazi colonization plans in the east, and the numerous versions of the GPO themselves is extensive. The following is an annotated and limited list of relevant documents and suggested sources.
1924, Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf. 8th Edition (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1939), p. 935.
“The foreign policy of a folkish state is charged with guaranteeing the existence on this planet of the race embraced by the State, by establishing between the number and growth of the population, on the one hand, and the size and value of the soil and territory, on the other hand, a viable, natural relationship … Only a sufficiently extensive area on this globe guarantees a nation freedom of existence.”
B. 1924, Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf. 8th Edition (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1939), p. 940.
“The National Socialist movement must endeavor to eliminate the discrepancy between our population and our area – the latter viewed not only as a source of nourishment, but also as a point of support for power politics – between our historical past and the hopelessness of our impotence today.”
C. 1 May 1927, Hitler quoted in the Völkischer Beobachter. See Gordon W. Prange, ed., Hitler’s Words (Washington, DC: American Council on Public Affairs, 1944), pp. 19-21.
“As a people without power, the German people will, according to every indication, completely lose its position within the not-too-distant future. The German people will disappear from the earth; in fact, it will perish. This fateful question is the point of departure of our National Socialist doctrine, our Weltanschauung, and out teaching.
What is the relationship which the population has to the soil on which it lives? Can the soil on which a people lives support the entire population for the time being, and is it sufficient to allow for a further increase in the population?
Germany is the Fatherland of 62,000,000 people who live together on an area which is 450,000 kilometers square. This is a ridiculous figure when one considers the size of the other nations in the world today.
The only thing left for a people to do, then, is to attempt an adjustment in the relationship between the area on which it lives, that is its reservoir of subsistence, and its population … even if it must be done by war. This is the natural way which Providence has prescribed. Providence has given the world unto man, not so that he should degenerate into Pacifism, but so that in the eternal struggle with one another the strength and vigor of man should be preserved and so that some day the greatest freedom might belong to the most vigorous and most mighty people.”
D. March 1928, Hitler Speech in Hamburg, Prange, Hitler’s Words, pp. 26-27.
“Twice in history our people has drawn the sword to advantage. The first time, when our people colonized the south and east marches with German peasants, and second, when they, here in the north, east of the Elbe, gained the territory which has been the most precious treasure of our people. If we had not promoted these great colonies and shed the blood which gained them, what would be the situation today? This colonization returned a high rate of interest. The sword of those days has become the plow of today, and even today this plow assures a great part of our people its daily bread. If ever in the future of Germany the sword must be drawn … then it must be drawn in the service of the plow – so that some day the time will come when the sword will again become the plow.”
E. 16 July 1941, Hitler Comments, Conference in Führer Headquarters, in Czesław Madajczyk, ed., Generalny Plan Wschodni: Zbiór dokumentów (Warszawa: Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce, 1990), pp. 61-64.
On Hitler’s aims in the conquered east: “The Crimea must be cleared of all [racially] foreign peoples, as must the parts of Galicia which formerly belonged to the Austrian Empire. …We must make a Garden of Eden out of the newly won eastern territories; this is important for our future existence; [overseas] colonies play a subordinate role. … All of the Baltic lands must be annexed to the Reich. Similarly, the Crimea, with a significant adjoining region (the region north of the Crimea) must become Reich territory. The annexed territory must be as large as possible. … The Reich must also annex the Volga Colony and the area around Baku.”
D. 17 October 1941, Hitler Monologue, Führer Headquarters, in Madajczyk, Generalny, pp. 69-70.
“The [eastern] region must lose the character of the Asiatic steppe, it must be Europeanized! It is for this purpose that we are building great highways to the southern tip of the Crime and to the Caucasus. German cities established along these roadways will stretch like a string of pearls, and around these will be German settlements. The two or three million people we need [for this program] can be found quicker than we think. We will take them from Germany, the Scandinavian lands, Western Europe, and America. Chances are that I will not live to see this, but in twenty years twenty million people will inhabit this territory. In three hundred years we will have a blossoming parkland of extraordinary beauty!
As for the people indigenous to the area, we will be sure to select those [of importance]. We will remove the destructive Jews entirely. … We will not enter Russian cities, they must die out completely.
There is only one task: Germanization through the introduction of Germans [to the area] and to treat the original inhabitants like Indians. … I intend to stay this course with ice-cold determination. I feel myself to be the executor of the will of History. What people think of me at present is all of no consequence. Never have I heard a German who has bread to eat express concern that the ground where the grain was grown had to be conquered by the sword. We eat Canadian wheat and never think of the Indians.”
A. 1935 (no day and month given) Appendix II, Ihor Kamenetsky, Secret Nazi Plans for Eastern Europe: A Study of Lebensraum Policies (New York: Bookman Associates, 1961), pp. 189-192.
“Without end, the steppes of the Russian area extend [to] eastern Europe. Abrupt and sudden is the difference between the cultural levels of central Europe and the gigantic districts [to the east]. And yet, on both sides of the frontier there is the same soil, but not the same people. Only man alone is able to impress his stamp upon the country. Therefore, on the one side the well ordered fertility, planned harmony of fields and carefully designed villages of Germany, and on the other side the zones of an impenetrable jungle, of the steppes, of never ending primeval forests, where silting rivers painfully cut their ways.
Badly exploited, fertile soil of black earth that could be a paradise, a California of Europe, and in reality abandoned, dreadfully neglected, branded with the stamp of a crime against culture beyond imagination even today, is a perpetual accusation against the sub-human and his rule.
Eastern Europe never progressed beyond a certain primitiveness. It has never known anything but chaos because it lacked mankind, the valuable bearer of culture, the genius who systematically planned peaceful reconstruction, who ordered the well designed exploitation of the immense treasures and the fertility of the soil. This country has only known the powers of unrestricted despoiling and brutal armament for war.
Highly civilized nations of central and western Europe set out with this country as their goal too. Once there were the Goths and the Waraoger who founded empires here and brought civilization with them. The Hanseatic League, Swedes, Flemish, Dutch, Swabian, and Saxonian settlers attempted to bring light into the darkness. A voice crying for help was heard thence in all centuries. Peter the Great, Catherine II, and all the others, whatever their names may be, called the German farmer and officer, the European scientist, physician, and engineer.”
B. 24 October 1939, Heinrich Himmler: Geheimreden 1933 bis 1945 und andere Ansprachen. Edited by B.F. Smith and A.F. Peterson (Frankfurt/Main: Propyläen Verlag, 1974), pp. 124-125.
“When we consider the issue [of eastern people], we first have to recognize that we have already long occupied ourselves with the Polish-Slavic problem … then we must clearly conclude, and thus have I received my tasks from the Führer, that in at least in the provinces which currently belong to Germany, the problem of the Polish minority must be solved, it must be eliminated in our lifetime. The problem must be eliminated.
This is a small piece of Asia into which we have come, and we want to push the borders of Germany still farther to the east; and with that the frontiers of Europe.”
C. 9 June 1942, Heinrich Himmler: Geheimreden 1933 bis 1945 und andere Ansprachen. Edited by B.F. Smith and A.F. Peterson (Frankfurt/Main: Propyläen Verlag, 1974), pp. 145-161.
“This war makes no sense if afterwards … Bohemia and Moravia, the German eastern districts of southeast Prussia, Danzig-West Prussia, the Warthegau, Upper Silesia, the General Government, the Ostland (inc. the Baltic States and Belorussia), the Crimea, and Ingermanland aren’t completely settled with Germans within twenty years.
This is the task that we have set out to accomplish, for as long as we still live, once peace is established … the land is Germanized when the populace is German.”
Mid-1940 – Himmler’s First “Generalplan” as developed in the RKFDV. See Rolf-Dieter Mueller, Hitlers Ostkrieg und die deutsche Siedlungspolitik: Die Zusammenarbeit von Wehrmacht, Wirtschaft und SS (Frankfurt/Main: Fischer, 1991), pp. 130-138.
27 April 1942 – Summary by Dr. E. Wetzel of the Generalplan Ost developed in the RSHA. See Madajczyk, Generalny, pp. 82-110. A copy of this version of the GPO does not exist. Wetzel’s summary is the most comprehensive document on this version of the GPO that is available.
28 May 1942 (officially dated June 1942) – A later version of the GPO as developed in the RKFDV.
29 October 1942 – Final “General Settlement Plan” from the RKFDV. Concerns population transfers in occupied Poland and Bohemia and Moravia. See Mechthild Roessler and Sabine Schleiermacher, eds., Der “Generalplan Ost”: Hauptlinien der nationalsozialistischen Planungs- und Vernichtungspolitik (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1993), pp. 96-117.
Gustavo Corni and Horst Gies, “Blut und Boden”: Rassenideologie und Agrarpolitik im Staat Hitlers (Idstein: Schulz-Kirchner Verlag, 1994). An extensive collection of documents and accompanying commentary on the development of Nazi agricultural policy based on the notions of “blood and soil” and Germany’s need for “living space,” both of which were central components of Nazi colonization plans in Eastern Europe.
Holger Herwig, “Geopolitik: Haushofer, Hitler and Lebensraum,” in The Journal of Strategic Studies (London: Frank Cass, 1999), pp. 218-241. The best brief discussion in English of the relationship between geopolitical thinker, Dr. Karl Haushofer and Adolf Hitler. Haushofer’s ideas on Germany’s need for “living space” in the east dramatically influenced Hitler’s thinking on the subject, thereby making the conquest of Lebensraum a primary goal of Nazi foreign policy.
Ihor Kamenetsky, Secret Nazi Plans for Eastern Europe: A Study of Lebensraum Policies (New York: Bookman Associates, 1961). Although dated, Kamenetsky nevertheless provides an excellent, easily understood summary of the theoretical origins of Nazi colonization plans by exposing their basis in geopolitical and “Blood and Soil” thinking in pre-1933 Germany.
Robert L. Koehl, RKFDV: German Resettlement and Population Policy 1939-1945 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957). The best English language history of the Reich Office for the Strengthening of Germandom.
Czesław Madajczyk, ed., Generalny Plan Wschodni: Zbiór dokumentów (Warszawa: Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce, 1990). An indispensable primary source reader containing one hundred documents relevant to the GPO and Nazi population policies, including speeches, letters, reports, and maps.
Rolf-Dieter Mueller, Hitlers Ostkrieg und die deutsche Siedlungspolitik: Die Zusammenarbeit von Wehrmacht, Wirtschaft und SS (Frankfurt/Main: Fischer, 1991). A combined monograph and documentary collection on the connections between Nazi Germany’s war in the east and the planned exploitation of the conquered territory. Mueller includes a section on the complicity of the German military in developing SS plans to reshape Eastern Europe.
Frank Parrella, “Lebensraum and Manifest Destiny: A Comparative Study in the Justification of Expansionism” (MA Thesis: Georgetown University, 1950). An adequate comparative treatment of the similarities and contrasts between the Lebensraum-based foreign policy of Nazi Germany and the American policy of Manifest Destiny. Relies too heavily on published secondary sources.
Henry Picker, Hitlers Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquartier 1941-42 (Bonn: Athenäum Verlag, 1951). A valuable collection of secret conversations recorded in Hitler’s headquarters, during which the Nazi leader spoke about a wide variety of subjects, including German foreign policy, the war against the USSR, and Germanization efforts in Eastern Europe.
Gordon W. Prange, ed., Hitler’s Words (Washington, DC: American Council on Public Affairs, 1944). An excellent compilation of quotes and comments from Hitler as printed in the German press during the 1920s and 30s. Prange makes it clear that Hitler did not hide his foreign policy plans and intentions from anyone, least of all the German people.
Mechthild Roessler and Sabine Schleiermacher, eds., Der “Generalplan Ost”: Hauptlinien der nationalsozialistischen Planungs und Vernichtungspolitik (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1993). A Collection of articles on various aspects of the Generalplan Ost, including its genocidal dimensions. Contains good essays from Karl Heinz Roth and Czesław Madajczyk.
Bradley F. Smith and Agnes F. Peterson, eds., Heinrich Himmler Geheimreden 1933 bis 1945 und andere Ansprachen (Frankfurt/Main: Propyläen Verlag, 1974). An important collection of several secret speeches by the Reich Leader SS Heinrich Himmler before and during the Second World War.
Bruno Wasser, Himmlers Raumplanung im Osten: Der Generalplan Ost in Polen 1940-1944 (Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, 1993). The most detailed study of the GPO and other Nazi resettlement plans as implemented in occupied Poland.
Czesław Madajczyk "General Plan East: Hitler's Master Plan for Expansion," in Polish Western Affairs, vol. III, no. 2 (1962) English
Der Generalplan Ost German